William Struthers 1578-1633

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William STRUTHERS 1578-1633

Biographical Note

Likely the son of the preacher William Struthers, based in Lanarkshire (1562) and Dunbartonshire (1569). Struthers graduated MA from the University of Glasgow in 1599. He entered the Church of Scotland as a minister, moving between charges in Glasgow and Dunbartonshire, until 1614 when he was appointed to St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, where he remained for the rest of his life. Struthers was involved in some of the most important religious controversies of early seventeenth-century Scotland. In 1617, he protested against the Scottish parliament recognizing the royal supremacy of King James VI, though his opposition to the crown later softened. In 1619, he was appointed to the court of high commission. Though he originally supported the liturgical innovations known as the five articles of Perth, he later saw episcopacy and the articles as damaging the Church. From 1628, he published a number of theological works. He died in Edinburgh, leaving 6000 merks (£4000 Scots) to provide bursaries for two theology students at both the University of Edinburgh, and Glasgow.


The full extent of Struther’s library is unknown. He made a bequest of 50 books to the University of Glasgow, and 50 to the University of Edinburgh, which were delivered in 1634. The books given to Edinburgh are thought to be mainly theological in nature, including the works of Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1464) (Basil, 1565) JY 63, notable for his mystical writings on Christianity which encompassed mathematical ideas. He gave editions of the Church Fathers to Glasgow, including the works of St Ambrose (Paris, 1549) Sp Coll Bi10-b.11 and a Froben edition of the works of St Hilary (Basil, 1523) Sp Coll Bm1-d.2

Characteristic Markings

He often signed the title page “Gulielmus Strutherus”.

Books given to Glasgow and Edinburgh are inscribed with variations of “Hos volumen cum 49 alijs Testamento legatum est Acad. Glasguens [or Edinburgen]. a Gulielmo Struthero Eccles. Edinburgens. Pastore. Anno 1634.”

Inscription of William Struthers and his bequest. (Edinburgh University JY63)